Sun rose is a common name given to cistus, which is the correct botanical name and the one usually used. But sun rose is a good name because it is descriptive. The flower looks like a flat, single rose and it is indeed a sun-lover. The various species are native to the Mediterranean region, stretching from Spain to Greece. It does a lot of its growing during the mild winter and spring period in those areas and flowers later here in our cooler conditions. The cistus is not very hardy but it is not as tender as some Mediterranean plants, because it grows high up on hills.

Whole hillsides may be covered with cistus bushes, a remarkable sight in flower, just like heather on Irish hillsides in summer. The secret from those sun-baked hills is the extremely good drainage. It is quite hardy as long as it is grown on dry well-drained ground. On heavy ground, it succumbs fairly easily because the plant does not get a good chance to toughen up and fully ripen its stems to avoid freezing.